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Saturday, July 28, 2007

WIn VISTA Market

At Microsoft's annual meeting with analysts, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner announced that the software giant had sold 60 million copies of Windows Vista since the product's launch in late January.

During the first five weeks alone, Turner said, sales numbers of Windows Vista exceeded the number of computers that Apple currently has as its total installed base.

But not everyone was impressed. "There were probably nearly 120 million PCs shipped in the first two quarters of 2007, so I'm not sure 60 million is that great," observed Gartner Client Computing research vice president Michael Silver.

Microsoft is "trying to dampen Apple's latest quarterly results, which saw a significant increase in shipments," he said.

Lacking the Killer App?

Turner said he thinks Vista's prospects going forward are "huge" -- especially in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Nevertheless, the software giant has just reduced its Vista sales growth forecast to roughly 10 percent over the next 12 months.

The continuing popularity of Windows XP is one reason Vista sales haven't been as strong as some analysts had expected initially. In addition, Vista's lack of a "killer app" means that potential buyers have no compelling reason to migrate from XP aside from Vista's "coolness" factor, wrote analysts at Forrester Research on the eve of Vista's launch.

In addition, the research firm's analysts wrote, Vista needs to be seen and experienced to be fully understood by consumers. "Until must-have applications are available on the Vista platform, the purchase experience will play an important role in Vista adoption," they noted.

"We certainly expect businesses to continue installing Windows XP for some time, even on PCs they buy with Vista licenses," Silver said. "Especially in the enterprise, it takes a good 12 to 18 months until they can support a new OS in their environment," he explained.

Greater Reliability, Reduced Support

Microsoft is trying to encourage PC users to upgrade to its new OS by stressing Vista's improved performance over XP in both security and customer support. During the past six months, only 12 "high-severity vulnerabilities" have been uncovered for Vista versus 25 for Windows XP, Turner told analysts. "I think you should also note that Windows Vista had far fewer than Apple, as well as any major desktop Linux distributor," he added.

Turner also played up the fact that the number of support calls for Vista was 21 percent lower than the number received for Windows XP during the past six months. "That's a big improvement for us as it relates to improving reliability," he said.

Microsoft currently is feeling "very good" about the sales performance of Vista's higher-priced Premium Edition, which has been selected by 68 percent of the software giant's customers to date. "That's a 16-point year-over-year increase as it relates to our premium mix," Turner noted.

However, the relative success of Vista's Premium Edition is not all that surprising. When Forrester Research interviewed more than 4,000 online adults several months back, Vista awareness proved to be greatest among wealthy, style-conscious individuals -- the consumers most likely to buy an upscale notebook or desktop PC that can take advantage of the advanced features that the Premium Edition offers.


Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.

The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor will help you to determine if your Windows XP-based PC can run Windows Vista. You can also use the Upgrade Advisor to determine if your Windows Vista-based PC is ready for an upgrade to a more powerful edition of Windows Vista.

This small software tool will scan your computer and create an easy-to-understand report of all known system, device, and program compatibility issues, and recommend ways to resolve them. Upgrade Advisor can also help you to choose the edition of Windows Vista that best fits the way you want to use your computer.

Just download, install, and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.

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